By Diana Shalhub
ISTANBUL (AA) – The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said Friday it had intercepted and destroyed a bomb-laden drone fired by Houthi rebels towards Saudi Arabia, the third such attack within 48 hours.
A coalition statement cited by state news agency SPA said a drone heading towards the Khamis Mushait region was shot down by Saudi air defense.
The statement said, "the Houthi militia continues to target civilians and civilian objects, and the coalition is taking operational measures to protect civilians and deal with the imminent threat.”
The rebel group has yet to comment on the coalition's statement.
In recent weeks, the Saudi-led coalition has announced it intercepted dozens of drones fired by Houthi rebels towards Saudi territories.
The Houthi group, backed by Iran, says the drone attacks are in response to the Saudi-led coalition’s assault on Yemen.
According to Liz Throssell, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Houthi rebels have launched 128 drone strikes and 31 ballistic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia since the beginning of this year.
Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014 when Houthis overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa. The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the conflict has claimed more than 233,000 lives.
*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat in Ankara